Governor Jerry Brown recently signed the 2018-19 budget which provides a significant amount of funding intended for citrus protection. The budget will allow the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP) to continue to protect the state’s citrus industry against Huanglongbing (HLB).
“He appropriated $10 million of general fund, one time for this fiscal year, plus an additional $2.5 million of general fund ongoing. That’s significant. It’s more general fund than we’ve ever gotten in a single fiscal year plus it contains ongoing general fund,” said CPDPP Interim Director, Nick Condos. “It also gave the citrus industry authority to spend an increased amount of their own money from their own assessment, up to $2.5 million if they so choose to do that.”
The governor’s budget that was originally released back in January had allocated only $2.5 million from the general fund to go towards enhancing Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and HLB suppression activities. The industry voiced substantial concern related to HLB and highlighted the importance of citrus protection. “The industry was very successful in lobbying the legislature to increase that by $10 million general fund. A lot of that had to do with the very noticeable and significant increase in the number of HLB detections over the course of the last year,” said Condos.
The funding allocation comes at a crucial time, as the number of HLB detections in California is quickly approaching 700. There have been more than 350 detections in Riverside, Los Angeles, and Orange counties this year alone. Addressing the issue of HLB is integral for the success of California’s citrus industry which was valued at $1.7 billion in 2016.
Outside of citrus, the budget illustrates the preservation of the overall agriculture industry in the state is a significant priority. The budget includes a total of $671.7 million for CDFA to use in several different agricultural sectors. “This is a budget that is focused on the challenges and opportunities in the future for California agriculture,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a statement. “I believe we have a budget that makes crucial investments in positioning us for that future.”